Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Allow Pre-poll voting at next ACT Election

I have proposed to the new Greens members of Canberra local government that the ACT electoral laws be amended to remove the restrictions on pre-poll voting at the next ACT Election. This would allow most of the votes to be cast and counted electronically.

This could be done by the following change to the Electoral Act 1992:

Replace: "expects to be unable"

With: "does not wish"

In: Section 136B "Ordinary or declaration voting in ACT before polling day"
(1) (a).

This would allow more voters to use the pre-poll polling places (whioch are equipped for e-voting) in the weeks before polling day, without needing to give a reason to do so. It would have several advantages:
  1. REDUCED FUEL USE: Votes could be cast on a planned shopping trip or work break, instead of needing special trip on polling day. As well as being convenient for the voters, this would reduce the number of car trips on polling day and so reduce fuel use and greenhouse gas emissions.
  2. REDUCED PAPER USE: Allowing more use of the electronic voting system would reduce paper consumption. It would also reduce the size needed for polling day booths, cut the cost and speed the count.
  3. INCREASE RESPECT FOR LAW: I have heard a number of anecdotes about people pretending they were going to be away from Canberra so they could pre-poll vote using the electronic system. While it is unlikely anyone would be prosecuted for this breech of the law, it would be better to change the law to allow voters to do what they want to do, legally.
Otherwise I may implement "plan B" and organise "Leave Canberra Day" for the next election. ;-)

1 comment:

Tom Worthington said...

Had a reply from Shane Rattenbury, Greens spokesperson on
Attorney general issues, including the Electoral Act. When they look at elections they will consider the issue of removing restrictions on pre-poll voting. Anyone who thinks this might be a good idea , might like to tell Shane.